Kazakhstan has become increasingly popular among tourists from all around the world. Local travel companies have been quick to respond to this phenomenon by increasing the range of services they offer, attracting even more travelers. Many of these tourists come from Germany, the UK, Japan, South Korea and China. These travelers have already experienced the touring routes of Kazakhstan, and we believe that it’s high time to follow their example.
Today, Kazakhstan offers virtually all types of travel services – educational and entertainment tours, ethnic and eco-tourism, just to name a few. Numerous touring routes cover the country’s entire territory. For example, you can’t afford to miss the Golden Ring of Southern Kazakhstan. Some of the World’s earliest cities flourished in this fertile oasis, located on the southern steppe, at the frontier between nomads and ancient settlements. A system of caravan routes connecting China with the Near East and Europe used to cross through this land. The Great Silk Road, or Zhibek Zholy in the Kazakh language, emerged as a major trade route as early as the 3rd century BC. A significant part of this road now belongs to the territory of Kazakhstan. Cities such as Turkestan (Yasi), Taraz (Talas) and Otrar are located along this ancient route, and in the past they used to be major settlements along the path of the caravans.
Southern Kazakhstan also hosts the world famous space port, Baykonur. It is quite possible that in the near future, not only the local people, but also tourists from abroad will be able to get one step closer to space and feel its fascinating aura, if not by joining a rocket launch, then by witnessing it from a nearby location. There is a proposal to create at Baikonur an entertainment complex with modern hotels and service facilities, similar to that existing at Cape Canaveral. Facilities would include a mini-mission control center which would simulate spacecraft launch, a planetarium, a museum of space development, a shopping network, restaurants, as well as ‘cosmic cafes’ for young people.
In addition, the region provides unique climatic conditions for recreation, rehabilitation, hunting, mountain climbing, skiing and ice-skating. Western Kazakhstan is situated in a quite unique fashion on the border line between the European and Asian continents, in the basins of the Caspian Sea and Volga and Ural rivers. Here one can find the second lowest land area on our planet, the Karaghiye Depression (some 132 meters below sea level), as well as impressive chalk cliffs.
There are rich hunting grounds and a number of good fishing spots, as well as areas suitable for water sports. The ancient ruins of Mangyshlak and Ustyurt, as well as memorials related to Kazakh history, are of significant scientific importance. One of the major resting spots in this region used to be Aktau. From here, one may observe not only the Karaghiye Depression, but also rocky cliffs and picturesque canyons, rich in mineral springs. You will be able to visit necropolises and underground mosques built by the indigenous stonemasons of old. The shores of the Caspian Sea offer numerous beaches. The sea dashing itself upon the cliffs, sandy beaches, and stony seabed. Extreme tourists will appreciate the rock climbing and sailing opportunities.
Whether you like touring by car or on a bicycle, or prefer water-based activities, you will love a vacation spent in Northern Kazakhstan, with its landscapes and climate. One of the most popular resorts for both the locals and guests of the country is the so-called “Kazakh Switzerland”, a place called “Borovoye”. A true gem of Kazakhstan, located between the cities of Astana and Kokshetau, this resort town has a population of some 5,000 people. It offers a rich variety of restaurants, bars, shops and discos.
Central Kazakhstan is the location of one of the world’s largest lakes, Balkhash, the unique Karkarala mountain forest oasis, as well as numerous places of interest representing archaeological and ethnographic sites.
Eastern Kazakhstan bears the Altai Mountain range and its foothill forest regions, as well as the Irtysh River, and lakes Zaysan, Markakol, Alakol and Sauskan.
Kazakhstan is becoming increasingly recognized and respected on the international political scene, and it is no surprise that Almaty and Astana have become host to a growing number of various regional and international meetings and symposia. More and more business tourists have become interested in visiting the country, and you may find yourself becoming one of them.
Speaking of extreme and ecological tourism, there’s more than enough space for these activities. Admirers of exoticism and adventure, bored by comfort and hotel accommodations, may stay in Kazakh traditional tent homes, yurts, and study the local customs, lifestyle and traditions. The list of services in this sector is continuously being enriched with new offers. Recently, traditional mountain trekking tours and wildlife reserve visits were diversified with another type of extreme touring – hunting with birds of prey. An ancient hunting tradition that originated in Central Asia is becoming popular again.
Text from kazakhstan.orexca.com/Video by Juergen Thomas Steinmetz